(London) Times: Hillary Clinton Pours Oil on troubled waters

What was she thinking? By taking a last-minute detour, on her five-day trip to Latin America, to visit President Fernández de Kirchner in Buenos Aires, Hillary Clinton has ”” recklessly ”” given the appearance of throwing America’s weight behind Argentina in its row with Britain over sovereignty of the Falkland Islands…

Intruding in the dispute was lamentable enough. But in further offering to mediate between Buenos Aires and London, the US Secretary of State is implying that there may be some fruitful area of grey between their rival black-and-white claims. By suggesting so boldly that there may be room for negotiation when Britain has insisted that there is none, Mrs Clinton gives the impression that Argentina has America’s tacit support in the dispute.

Read it all.


Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Argentina, Economy, England / UK, Foreign Relations, South America, The U.S. Government

34 comments on “(London) Times: Hillary Clinton Pours Oil on troubled waters

  1. William P. Sulik says:

    Why does this administration go out of it’s way to show utter contempt for the UK?

  2. Br. Michael says:

    You mean that Brown didn’t like his set of CDs?

  3. Antonio says:

    “…Mrs Clinton gives the impression that Argentina has America’s tacit support in the dispute”.
    Argentina once believed in that impression. And what a mistake it was!

  4. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) says:

    No, it was not “careless of Mrs Clinton”. It was yet another example of what is now obviously a concerted and consistent effort by the current US administration to undermine our most reliable and longstanding ally.

    Returning the Churchill statue (“We no longer need it.”). Presentation of gifts quite obviously intended to snub both the Prime Minister and the Queen. The US First Lady’s disrespectful informality and inappropriate touch with the Queen. Denial of the “special relationship” with Britain. And plenty more.

    Now this bit about the Falklands. It is an odd American administration, indeed, that applies such great effort to insulting, dismissing, and even undermining our best allies — shall we talk about Israel? — while sucking up to some of the world’s worst tyrants with obvious (and presumably genuine) enthusiasm.

  5. Islandbear says:

    Having lived in Argentina, I think my point of view on this might be a bit different. First, the Argentine regime which tried to retake the Malvinas by force was brutal and repressive, not only in this situation but to its own people. Argentina has “cleaned house” and has become a functional and stable deomocracy. The hsitory of the Islands is a confusing tangle of legal claims (including destruction of an Argentine settlement by the US Navy), with Argentina’s claim at least as strong as the UK’s.

    I would also ask that we consider how the support of a British colonial outpost is in our national interest in Latin America?
    If Secretary Clinton can help resolve this long-standing festering wound, it is a “win-win” for all concerned, including the UK. This would, of course, include self determination for the people of the Falklands.


  6. AnglicanFirst says:

    “Why does this administration go out of it’s way to show utter contempt for the UK?”

    Possibbly because our close fraternal and cultural ties with the UK have resulted in a synergistic alliance between the two nations that makes both of us combined a formidible force in world affairs.

    That is, it makes us both ‘too strong,’ in a politically correct manner of speaking.

  7. Betsybrowneyes says:

    George Washington wisely advised our infant nation not to get entangled in the affairs of other countries. Good advice today, too.

  8. AnglicanFirst says:

    “George Washington wisely advised our infant nation not to get entangled in the affairs of other countries. Good advice today, too.”

    Then you agree that Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be discussing the Argentine-British issue of the Falkland Islands with the President of Argentina?

  9. Betsybrowneyes says:

    AnglicanFirst, exactly. Mrs. Clinton, or any other US official, should not be meddling in the Falkland Islands sovereignty issue. The dispute is for the UK and Argentina to settle on their own.

  10. phil swain says:

    Isn’t the headline, “Hillary Clinton Pours oil on troubled waters,” expressing just the opposite of what the editorial is saying? Don’t sailors pour oil on choppy waters to level out the waves?

  11. Fr. Dale says:

    Looks like the next (Republican) President will need to be go on an apology tour also.

  12. Sick & Tired of Nuance says:

    “…with Argentina’s claim at least as strong as the UK’s.”

    Who lives on the islands right now? What is their nationality? How long have they lived there? What is their ethnic origin? Who won the last conflict over the disputed territory?

  13. Old Pilgrim says:

    This administration, Mrs. C. included, is doing it’s best to destroy the country. May we all survive until these people are voted out.

  14. Tamsf says:

    You are exactly right. Oil was spread on troubled waters to keep down the breakers and the spray. I started reading this item expecting it to explain how Ms. Clinton was backing down from the diplomatic row she had started. Instead it was saying just the opposite.

    It shows how much Britain has changed from a seafaring nation that a editor from the Times would get that headline 180 degrees wrong.

    She’s poured gas on the fire, not oil on troubled waters.

  15. Alta Californian says:

    Dear God, the Secretary of State offered to mediate a foreign dispute! How dare she! I agree, this country is toast, not because of Mrs. Clinton or the administration, but because of partisan BS from everyone involved.

  16. teatime says:

    Well, it’s what everyone should have expected. Hillary got her marching orders from Obama, I’m sure. He loudly and proudly campaigned on how he would sit down and negotiate with everyone, including despots. And he’s made how he views our European allies VERY clear. She campaigned against such negotiations and called them reckless but now she’s part of this Administration. Good luck with that.

  17. Sick & Tired of Nuance says:

    The “dispute” was settled already. It was called the Falklands War and it occurred in 1982 and had a firm resolution. End of dispute.

    Clinton seems like she is trying to start a new dispute. Here is a clue…why doesn’t she go to the Falklands and ask the people that are living there about their islands and ask them what their nationality is. Is she trying to fan the flames for a new war?

  18. Betsybrowneyes says:

    Thanks, #17. Exactly so. The issue was resolved in 1982. Mrs. Clinton has no business meddling. Period.

  19. Islandbear says:

    Glory to Jesus Christ!
    I am somewhat suprised at the tenor of comments this article has promoted. It sounds like some of you believe that territorial disputes should be resolved by military force .. somewhat at odds, I think with the US position on Kuwait / Iraq. As to nationality of the inhabitants of the Falklands / Malvinas is the issue really ethnicity? Argentina is at least as ethnically diverse as the UK or US — including significant populations of decendants of folks from the British Isles.
    I would hope that the distrust that some posting have of the current administration would not carry over into justification of continued colonialism, support of which is not in our national interest in Latin America.

    I am an anglophile also — a picture of HM the Queen hangs on my office wall as I write. However, how about some discussion of the domestic issues for the PM — is there a domestic gain in refusing to negotiate with Argentina?


  20. Br. Michael says:

    19, negotiate to what end?

  21. Sick & Tired of Nuance says:

    Ah ah…I finally get it. Perhaps the Argentines are eager to negotiate with Britain so that the UK will act as their executer as they divest themselves of all wealth transferred there by the Nazis at the close of WW II.

    Nazi gold ‘shipped by U-boat to Argentina’

  22. Islandbear says:

    #20: I would suppose that would depend on whether one were negotiating for Britain or Argentina. For the US, no preconditions

    #21 “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” — I think this useful guidance for coutnries as well as indiividuals. As we had companies selling scrap metal to the Japanese, and doing business with the Natzis, we can’t pretend to have clean hands here. I would also recommend a review of working conditions at Penemunde — under the direction of the great American Werner Von Braun


  23. Sick & Tired of Nuance says:

    So, Islandbear+,

    What do you recommend for the citizens on the Faulklands? Should they burn their own constitution now or wait for the next invasion by Argentina?

  24. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    Here is how we and the Falkland Islanders see it:
    Nice to know who our friends are as our fine young people die in Afghanistan alongside your fine young people; as so many of our fine young people did in 1982.

  25. Sick & Tired of Nuance says:

    # 22

    You do know that the British have been living there without interruption for 177 years?

    You do know that the Argentine claim is based upon the French cedeing control to Spain and Spain placing the islands under the Colonial administration of Argentina?

    The claim by Argentina is based on an inherited and disputed claim…from France to Spain to a pirate/privateer to a penal colony and settlement that was destroyed by the United States in 1831 over a dispute about fishing and seal rights. Argentines only actually lived on the islands from 1828 to 1831. Since 1833, the islands have been settled by the British.

    The Argentines claimed the territory and committed acts of war in 1982 to sieze the territory…and were soundly defeated.

    What exactly do you think should be done in the Faulklands now in 2010 and don’t you think the people that live there under their own constitutional government should have a say?

  26. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    Perhaps Mrs Clinton might offer her services to mediate over Iraq’s claims to Kuwait?

  27. Br. Michael says:

    Islandbear+, one does not negotiate for the sake of negotiation. One has an end in view. I assume that Argentina wants the Falklands and the UK does not want to give them up. So what’s to negotiate?

  28. Islandbear says:

    I must say that I am rather suprised at the rather snarky tone of some of the posts in this string. My objective was to raise some alternative points which might broaden the basis of discussion beyond the jingoistic — as a graduate in International Relations something I have found to be a very costly position when embraced by nation states
    To respond to the substantive points raised:

    I would see Britain’s position in the South Atlantic as roughly analogous to that it faced in Hong Kong — the geopolitical realities of distance and expense will eventually require some kind of creative solution there. As a graduate of Command and General Staff, I would add that the Falklands are at the end of a very long supply line for Britain, which makes the exercise of sovereignty by military means costly and difficult. Once there, the military has to operate in a very challenging weather and maritime environment.

    One possibility is co soveriegnty, with economic benefits accruing to the Falklanders (for whom the Southern Cone is a natural market) and Britain as gurantor of thier rights. I would suggest that any solution has to include self determination for the Islanders. The American offer made by Secretary Clinton is technically that of “good offices”, the United States offering its assistance to the sovereign parties to move negotiations forward. This I would argue is a responsible use of US power, and an appropriate application of the Monroe Doctrine in this situation.
    I hope this amplification is both helpful and respectful to all.

  29. farstrider+ says:


    The Falkland Islanders consider themselves British– why should they have to hand sovereignty over to Argentina simply because of geography. Hillary’s move makes about as much sense as if the UK offered to mediate between the US and Russia over the latter’s supposed claim on Alaska. Would it be acceptable to you if the Her Majesty’s Government offered to help find some “fruitful area of grey between their rival black-and-white claims”?

  30. robroy says:

    [url=http://wannabeanglican.blogspot.com/2010/03/obamas-top-10-snubs-of-britain.html]Obama’s Top 10 Snubs of Britain [/url]. Compare Sarkozy to Brown. [url=http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/09/29/sarkozys_contempt_for_obama.html ]Sarkozy holds Obama in contempt[/url] and says it and gets treated better than the obsequious Brown.

  31. Sick & Tired of Nuance says:

    Sadly, another possibility is that this action by the Obama administration will encourage the Argentine government to commit another act of war and once again seize the Falklands. The sinking of the General Belgrano and Sheffield and all the other casualties in 1982 will have been for nothing if this happens.

    So, I am appalled that Clinton did what she did and I am angered that this sort of misstep in international affairs could easily lead down the path to another war…and to what end? Argentina had only the barest of threadbare pretexts for claiming the islands and they started a war to prosecute that claim. As I stated before, they had only lived on the islands for about 4 years and that was [i]after[/i] the British and Spanish left (though neither gave up their claims) and they were claimed by an American privateer/pirate on behalf of Argentina…only to have the single settlement destroyed by Americans after only 4 years. The British have had a very early claim, one that pre-dates the existance of Argentina as a country, and the British people have been living there for 177 years.

    This meddling by the Obama administration is extremely troublesome and we have no business being there or getting into this. The matter was settled. We should leave it that way. I hope that doesn’t sound snarky, and I also hope it explains the fervent nature of the preceding comments.

  32. Islandbear says:

    OK, Here are some additional thoughts which I hope will be helpful, formed by my training as both an IR and CG≻ grad. The Falklands are at the end of a very long supply line for the Brits — and in a very difficult weather and maritime setting. This makes the application (or presence) of a military force both complicated and expensive. Eventually, they will want out of the expense. The Argentines have gone to great lengths to clean up their Government. The Sourthern Cone is a natural market for the Falklanders. I would guess that any political settlement would involve signtificant economic incentives for the Islanders, as well as gurantees of polticial and individiual freedoms/ I would guess that any settlement would move towards some kind of co sovereignty, with either the UK or US as guarator of thoes rights (which by the way are also guanteed under the Argentine Consititution.) Any settlement will have to include the right of self determination for the Islanders. If the Brits can reach an agreement on Hong Kong with the Communist Chinese, I am sure that the FCO will be able to do even better with a modern democracy.

    The US offer is technically that of “good offices” — that is to assist the principals in reaching a mutually agreeable solution. That, I would argue, is an appropriate use of US power and the correct application of the Monroe Doctrine to this situation.
    How about we move away from the jingoistic in seeking solutions?


  33. Katherine says:

    The Obama administration has a spotty record at best in Latin America. It was on the wrong side on Honduras. And have we ever approved the free trade agreement with Colombia? It’s hard to see how this clumsy involvement in the Falklands dispute is in our best interests, or those of the people who live there, or of our traditional allies. It’s amateur hour at the State Department and the White House.

  34. Fr. Dale says:

    #31. Katherine,
    [blockquote]It’s amateur hour at the State Department and the White House.[/blockquote] It would take a couple of books to unpack that statement but you are correct.